Monday, May 4, 2009


So I was watching Gladiator the other night.  I'm sure I'm not the only person to have been bothered by this in the past, but here are a few things that occurred to me:

- Maximus is commanding the legions in Germania when Commodus orders him killed. Maximus escapes and hurries to his home to make sure his family is okay.  That home, he says earlier to Marcus Aurelius, is in Spain (and more on that later).  If he was on the borders of the Roman Empire in Germania in A.D. 180 (the year Marcus died), then that puts him, generously, near Frankfurt today.  If we give Maximus the benefit of the doubt, then his home in Spain would be right over the border with France in northern Spain.  He says he grows olives and grapes, so he's probably near the Mediterranean, so let's call it Barcelona. That's about 798 miles.  A horse can travel about 30-40 miles per day, assuming decent conditions.  Even Roman roads were not that great, and Maximus has to assume Commodus is having him followed.  So a really gracious estimate is that it took Maximus 21 days to reach his home.  So here's my question:  why is the wound on his arm still bleeding?  If it was a bad infection, then he'd be dead already.  If it wasn't infected, it should have scabbed over most of the way.  Yet when he's picked up by the slavers he's still in some kind of feverish haze with an open wound.  I don't buy it.

- More annoyingly, in A.D. 180 there was no such place as "Spain", so there is no way Maximus would have been called "Spaniard".  Hispania was the name of the Roman province that covered Iberia.  I'd buy "Iberian" or "Hispanic", but not "Spaniard".  In the 400's, the eastern emperors had an enclave named Spania, but that's 200 years later.  There is no such thing as "Spain" until 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella (yes, the same ones) unite Castile and Aragon into a joint kingdom.

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